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Cooking

  • Casseroles were an American staple during the Depression

     Can you name a dish that is also the name of the container in which it is cooked? Casserole! When you combine a variety of foods, whether they are all vegetables or in combination with meats, and heat them in a broth or stock, you have actually created a casserole.

    Casseroles vary from the typical cream sauce-based creations to quiches, to savory pies, to Shepherd’s pie and even breakfast and dessert casseroles.

  • For most Southern folks, Brunswick stew is pure comfort

    I remember reading somewhere about men being from Mars and women from Venus. If we are talking about the eating department, that could be true. When it comes to comfort foods, most men prefer hearty meals, while women look for snacks that require little or no preparation.

    Most of us men find comfort in foods associated with meals prepared by our mothers, such as mashed potatoes, pasta, meat and soup, rather than snacks and sweets … except for ice cream! But what is comfort for men is just work for women.

  • This weekend is the inaugural North Carolina Rice Festival

    The North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the first North Carolina Rice Festival this coming weekend, Sept. 20-21, at The Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville, 580 River Road in Belville. The festival will include a rice cooking contest, arts and crafts, commercial vendors, children’s entertainment zone, youth art contest and, of course, an adult beverage tent.

  • The versatility and speed of the classic French sauté

    Many of us have cooked meat in a hot pan lightly covered in olive oil and then deglazed the pan with either a rich beef or chicken stock or our favorite white or red wine. This classic French sauté method is credited to Pierre Franey, whose series of “60-Minute Gourmet” cookbooks taught a generation of Americans about the versatility and speed of this classic technique.

  • Gravy, shrimp add flavor to Southern breakfast staple

    Grits are a staple of the Southern breakfast. For those unfamiliar with them, grits are nothing more than coarsely ground, dried corn. If you grind it a little finer, you have the Italian staple, polenta … grind it finer yet, and you have corn meal.

    I’ve heard that some places like to combine grits with hominy, which is soaked in lye. Why would you want to soak food in lye, and then actually eat it?

  • It’s summertime, and fruits and vegetables are at their peak

    If there’s one food that really captures the essence of summer, it’s salad. Ripe produce are overflowing from our gardens, and when fruits and vegetables are at the peak of their season, there’s no need to do anything fancy with them.

  • Green beans are a popular, warm-season, home garden vegetable

     Do you know what the most popular, edible pod bean is in this country? It’s green beans, otherwise known as snap or string bean. Not only are green beans a popular home-garden vegetable, they are also plentiful at our local farm markets and produce stands during this warm season.

    I remember my aunt pulling the “string” on these beans, noticeable when you snapped off the ends. The “snapping” noise is the reason for its other nickname.

     

  • There is nothing simple when it comes to a cup of joe

     Every morning, millions of Americans reach for their cup of joe in order to start the morning off right. We seem to have coffeehouses on every corner offering specialty brews for this tasty, eye-opening beverage.

    Now, we even drink it during the day. Iced coffee seems to be catching on quite a bit.

  • Swiss chard is available year round but is best in summer

     

    Swiss chard is available year round but is best in summer

    Chard is often referred to as Swiss chard because of its extensive cultivation in Switzerland. As a member of the beet family, it has also been referred to as silver beet, spinach beet, leaf beet, sea kale beet, white beet, strawberry spinach and even Roman kale.

    In our area, the two main types available are red chard and green chard. The red, which has a stronger flavor, has red stems and dark green leaves with red veins. The green has lighter green leaves with white stalks.

  • To eat shrimp, you should know the best way to peel them

     There is a right way and a wrong way to peel shrimp. Boiled or uncooked, if you’re going to eat shrimp, you need to know the best way to peel them.